Every replica car starts with a ‘donor’ vehicle, and a kit to dress it up.

When planning this replica 166, consideration had to be given to finding the most suitable, and that means similar, car.

Fortunately, because of post war economic restrictions, Volkswagen did not alter the fundamental engineering principles employed during the 30s and 40s until the 1970s. In fact, a mid 60s T1 Beetle shares very similar engine, steering, and suspension with a 166. Furthermore, there is no shortage of them. Volkswagen Beetle production was prolific to the point that the world is practically polluted with them.

It was exactly that line of thinking that established the plan to build replica VW typ 166, and to see if all that theory and hot air could be put into practice.

It took well over a year, but after a lot of experimenting, expense, advise and trial and error, a mid 1960s Beetle was converted, and made a fair representation of a mid 1940s Volkswagen typ 166 Schwimmwagen.


The major components are broadly similar. Engine is an air cooled, horizontally opposed four-cylinder, petrol four stroke. The only major difference is the power and displacement. Suspension at the rear follows the same swing arm principle, and at the front it shares a similar double torsion bar design.

The only major difference are the overall dimensions, whilst steering is pretty much unaltered. But by using the Beetle brakes, axles, etc not only are they better and safer than a real 166, but spare parts are readily available anywhere in the world.